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Barry Lyndon

Barry Lyndon
Film Format: 
Kubrick, Stanley
United States
Ryan O Neill
Melissa Berenson
Patrick Maggee
Aspect Ratio 137:1
Film Reviews: 

A triumph of tecnique over any human content that takes Thackeray's hero and traces his rise and fall through the armies and high societies of ancient Europe. Given the singular lack of drama, perspective or insight, the way the film looks becomes it only defence. But the constant array of waxwork figures against lavish backdrops finally vulgarises the visual sumptuousness.[Chris Petit, Time Out Film Guide, Ed Tom Milne, 1989]

Film Reviews: 

With the possible exceptions of Killer’s Kiss and A Clockwork Orange all of Stanley Kubrick’s features look better now than when they were first released, and Barry Lyndon, which fared poorly at the box office in 1975, remains his most underrated (though Eyes Wide Shut is already running a close second). This personal, idiosyncratic, and melancholy three-hour adaptation of the Thackeray novel may not be an unqualified artistic success, but it’s still a good deal more substantial and provocative than most critics were willing to admit. Exquisitely shot in natural light (or, in night scenes, candlelight) by John Alcott, it makes frequent use of slow backward zooms that distance us, both historically and emotionally, from its rambling picaresque narrative about an 18th-century Irish upstart (Ryan O’Neal). Despite its ponderous pacing and funereal moods, the film is highly accomplished as a piece of storytelling, and it builds to one of the most suspenseful duels ever staged. It also repays close attention as a complex and fascinating historical meditation, as enigmatic in its way as 2001: A Space Odyssey. The Music Box’s weeklong Kubrick retrospective includes a new print of this and several other films, and it offers an excellent opportunity to reevaluate a filmmaker whose work continues to deepen after his death. With Marisa Berenson, Patrick Magee, Hardy Kruger, and Leonard Rossiter; narrated by Michael Hordern. Music Box,
[Jonathan Rosenbaum]

Date Arrival: 
12 January 2000